I note that Healthy Davis Together (HDT) is scheduled to end its public testing services at the end of this month. I am concerned about the timing of this closure during a large surge of Covid-19. The surge is not unexpected with masking reduction, public burnout and a highly-contagious variant. True that far less people are dying, but why shut down testing just as there is a huge upsurge in cases and a small uptick in deaths?
Last time the HDT program was slated for shutdown, I suggested rather than shutting down the program, start charging for testing, and allow for those testing to 'sponsor' more tests by paying for tests for others in need. I believe the community will respond generously. Many I have have spoken to are dismayed at the end of H.D.T testing, and would welcome the continuation of the program as a pay service. I encourage Council to push for this option.
I saw pictures of the previous (first live) City Council meeting in 'a local blog'. Great photos of all of you. But no one on the dais was wearing a mask. Photos of the audience showed a spattering of maskless and masked -- using cloth, surgical, N95. What is the mask policy? What is the message the Council wishes to send? Why the choice to have the first live meeting and not wear masks as we headed into a surge?
Society today -- supposedly compassionate towards marginalized peoples -- is being oddly cruel in dismissing that Covid-19 "only" kills the old and the sick. Are 'old' and 'sick' not marginalized groups that we should care for? Being that I will be 'old' soon (in the category where Covid-19 death is much more likely), I would prefer to live in a society that gives a crap.
I go to one business downtown and they require full N95 masking for all clients who enter. I go to another business wearing a mask and am taken to a closed office with a maskless woman who never even asks if I'd prefer she wore a mask. Many people seem done with Covid-19. Yet, I know more people who have contracted Covid-19 in the last two months than the previous two years. My pre-Covid-19 work building was just declared a 'severe outbreak location' for the first time in the pandemic. But apparently we are tired of Covid-19, so end the testing, end the masking?
Official health guidelines are insanely confusing. The County lists a state website that grades types of masks by their usefulness. N95 is 'very good', surgical is 'good', cloth is 'fair'. This is for a deadly virus.
Can you imagine if health officials used a similar system for prophylactics? Latex is 'very good', lambskin is 'good', a plastic baggie is 'fair' ? Of course for something non-fatal health officials are clear that the only way to protect one's self, and others, is to use a latex condom. But we teach that a cloth mask is a 'fair' option. As the concept of masks has changed from 'everyone helps everyone' to 'everyone for themselves', and all masks are widely available, it is paramount that the vulnerable public is guided to use only the most protective masks.
As well, home Covid-19 tests have proven to frequently give false negatives. This is worse than no tests at all, as people may visit an old and/or vulnerable family member with the false security of having taken an inadequate home test.
I recently learned that although HDT is shutting down, a "test -to-treat" facility is opening in Woodland, offering a same day full round of Paxlovid if one tests positive. I learned about this not from the City, but from the California Aggie. Will a "test-to-treat" facility be opening in Davis soon?
I urge the Council to: A) Wear masks at meetings while the surge continues; B) Continue Healthy Davis Together as a paid program allowing donations for the needy; C) Give a clear message as to where we are in the pandemic that considers a balance between business needs, healthy citizens, and vulnerable citizens; D) Give clear information about testing and treatment available to Davis residents beyond June 30.
Alan C. Miller